BUA and Beyond: G-ASJI
The very long serving One-Eleven 201AC-013.
Juliet Indigo (c/n 013) was the first One-Eleven to be delivered to British United on 22 January 1965. Immediately, she embarked on a intensive programme of route proving and demonstration flying around Europe and the Mediterranean. By 14 February, this amounted to some 200 hours flying time and visits to 18 destinations. Further flights would take her as far afield as Lisbon, Accra and Las Palmas and return stages to Jersey, Malaga, Majorca and Genoa from her base at Gatwick. However it was her sister ship, G-ASJJ, that embarked on BUA's first scheduled revenue flight from Gatwick to Genoa on 9 April.
She continued to fly for BUA and subsequently British Caledonian until January 1982. BUA had merged with Caledonian Airlines in November 1970 and the fleet flew in a variety of hybrid "Caledonian//BUA" schemes before the airlines title was changed to "British Caledonian" on 1 November, 1971. Series 200 1-11's were named for Scottish towns, and G-ASJI was named Royal Burgh of Nairn.
[B.Cal service ended in ...and...] She went on to have a long career with many carriers in the US and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The One-Eleven had had a distinguished service history in the US dating back to the 1960s. G-ASJI was one of 7 ex-BCal 1-11s refitted at Southend for delivery to Pacific Express: a new low-cost operator based in Chico, California and serving destinations throughout that state as well as Oregon, Idaho and Nevada. Pacific Express took delivery of the former 'JI on January 27, 1982, now registered N106EX. The airline did not prove a success, however, and ceased operations in May 1984. By then the 1-11 fleet had been repossessed by the British Jet Aircraft Company.
N106EX and two other 1-11s were leased out to Cascade Airways later that year. (Two Series 400s would follow in 1985.) Cascade was based in Spokane, Washington and flew an extensive regional network throughout the Pacific states and to Calgary in Canada. Mounting competition in the region led to Cascade's demise, however, and the 1-11s were sold to Florida Express in 1986.
Based in Orlando, FE already had a fleet of nine 1-11s flying short scheduled services within Florida, the southern states and farther afield to the Bahamas. By 1987 the fleet comprised some 21 One-Elevens making them among the largest operators of the type. Unfortunately this rapid expansion led to the company over-stretching itself and in need of cash to stay afloat.
Enter Braniff Airways, which merged with Florida Express on 1 March 1988. The original Braniff, a launch customer for the 1-11 back in 1965, had collapsed in 1982 but was resurrected as Braniff, Inc. in 1984 with new financial backing. In fact, some of the Florida Express 1-11s had originally flown for Braniff! As well as continuing on the old Florida Express network based in Orlando, the 1-11s also flew scheduled services from Dallas and Kansas City.
Once again Braniff ran into trouble and some of the 1-11s, including N106EX, were sold to Guinness Peat Aviation in July 1988. (N106EX was then reregistered EI-BWM.) Despite leasing the aircraft back on an ad hoc basis, Braniff would finally file for bankruptcy in September 1989 and with that, the former G-ASJI's seven-year US career was over.
[mention BUA service and spec of a/c in intro. water injection]
Data on 1-11 operations in DRC is scarce and given ongoing conflict and political instability in the country it's not likely there will be any more emerging in the medium term. 9Q-CSJ was one of three 1-11's (the others were Series 400's) to be delivered to Shabair between September 1990 and March 1991. 'JI went on to serve with ITAB Cargo (Jan 96-Mar 98) before being ferried back to Southend, refitted and delivered to Air Katanga, back in DRC, in August 1998. At some point around 2002 she was acquired by the Kinshasa government for use as an executive transport while apparently being still registered to Air Katanga. Photographer Peter Berg was aboard the aircraft in 2004 and reported it as being in excellent condition and still carrying high-ranking government officials such as the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Interior. Further strife in DRC makes her future uncertain but there's no reason not to believe she may still be airworthy.
|G-ASJI||British United Airways||15-Apr-65||30-Nov-70|
|G-ASJI||Caledonian / BUA||30-Nov-70||01-Nov-71|
|G-ASJI||British Caledonian Airways||01-Nov-70||25-Jan-82|